It’s been over a month since I’ve had a boat in the water and things just didn’t seem…right. On the trek across country I had two kayaks on top of the car and we crossed many bodies of water that looked ripe for paddling. However, the rest of my paddling gear was in a shipping box making its own way across country. Plus, we had two cats with us and were on a time crunch, so stopping to paddle wasn’t an option. Finally everything aligned – the paddling gear had arrived, the weather was good, tides were favorable, and we weren’t having major appliances or septic systems installed. It was time to paddle.
It looked like I wasn’t going to get to go paddling this trip. I had thought about just buying a kayak and leaving it up here for future trips, but couldn’t find anything reasonable. I thought about booking another tour, but by that time most had filled up with holiday travelers.
Fortunately, the neighbor Duff came to my rescue. He had several homemade Fiberglas boats that we had used before, but they weren’t easy to reach. They were at the bottom of the cliff on the south side of the island. We managed to haul them up the cliff, but by that time it was late in the evening, and we were a bit tired from the haul to go paddling.
After discussing options we decided to take the boats up the Valley and run a section of the Skagit River. This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, so I was psyched. We loaded the boats onto our rental, since it had roof racks.
The next morning Duff and I headed out in two vehicles. We had barely gotten off the island when one of the boats came loose and slid off of my car. Fortunately there was no damage to car or boat, and we were able to get it loaded back on an limp home. However, we needed to regroup.
The view from Mrs. Wright’s living room is constantly changing. The lighting changes with the rising and setting of the sun, clouds and weather roll in, and there is the constant shifting of the tides. Throw in a couple of eagles, herons, and humming birds, along with some boat traffic, and you’ve got a constant … Read More “A Day on Samish Island” »
Mrs. Wright’s house looks out over Padilla Bay, a section of the Puget Sound bounded by Samish Island to the north, the flat farmlands of Skagit Valley to the east and south, and Fidalgo Island south and west. The Swinomish Channel runs between Fidalgo Island and the mainland, connecting Padilla Bay to Skagit Bay.
On the east side of the bay, near the little community of Bayview, is the Padilla Bay Preserve. As many times as I’ve driven past here over the past 20 years, I had never stopped in. I decided that had to change on this trip. It was sunny one afternoon this past week, so I headed on over.
The Padilla Bay Preserve actually encompasses the east side of the bay. Just south of Bayview is a paved walkway that provides great views of the bay and the surrounding wetlands and farmlands. North of Bayview is the Brezeale Interpretive Center – a research and meeting center with displays for the general public. I had walked along the pathway, but had never been to the visitors center.
Wednesday I left Laura and her mom to get settled into the house a bit more, and I headed out to explore. I kind of had a couple of destinations in mind, but I wasn’t really sure where I would wind up. as it turns out, I did a ton of hiking in several locations.
My first stop was at a wildlife observation area just about a mile from the island. You have to have a permit to park there, so I park out on the road and walked out anyway.
I followed a trail along cultivated fields, heading toward the dike that keeps Padilla Bay from flooding the farmlands.
Our first morning after arriving on the island, Duff the neighbor came over and asked if we had seen the fireworks across the bay. Of course, we were still on East Coast time then, so we hadn’t. The next evening I managed to stay up late enough so that I could watch them. At this … Read More “Fireworks, Swinomish Style” »
December is a hectic time of year. In addition to all the Christmas rush there is my birthday and our anniversary. Last December 27 was crazy with family and travel, so we decided to celebrate our anniversary six months later. Little did we know that June 27 would be crazy with family and travel, too, but we decided to go ahead with our plans for a special day.
Neither of us had ever been on a whale watching trip, so we decided that would be our big adventure for the day. This being a week before a major holiday, it was tricky finding reservations. Fortunately, Island Adventures in Anacortes had space, so we booked our trip.
It turns out that this is the same company that I used for my kayaking tour last August when I was here. They followed the same procedures, too. We checked in at their main store, then reported over to the marina where we would board.